Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Authors: Nick Martin and Larry Kusch
Page: A3


Premier urges ministers, civil service to declare any potential issues
with business side of marijuana sales

MANITOBA - Premier Brian Pallister has ordered cabinet ministers,
their legislative assistants and senior civil servants to declare any
possible conflicts of interest they may have with legalized marijuana,
as he prepares to ramp up its implementation July 1.

Pallister told reporters Wednesday he'll issue a request for proposals
next Tuesday for anyone interested in being involved in the
production, storage, and sale of legalized marijuana.

Meanwhile, the premier said he wants real or apparent conflicts
declared - and any minister or senior bureaucrat with a conflict must
recuse himself or herself. "Recusal must be made," Pallister said.
"It's really important. It's a new and emerging issue. Recusal is the
appropriate action to take."

The premier said he does not see any potential of conflict for himself
- - and he made it clear he's only talking about potential business interests.

"I'm not asking them to declare if they have a personal interest in
consumption," the premier said.

Pallister told his ministers and senior bureaucrats involved in the
cannabis file they'll meet with conflict of interest commissioner
Jeffrey Schnoor in the next few weeks.

"The legalization of cannabis is a significant and unprecedented
social policy development with far reaching health, public safety,
social and economic implications," Pallister said in his directive,
which his office released to the media.

"Because of the far-reaching policy implications and impacts
associated with the legalization of cannabis, it is imperative that
all ministers and legislative assistants carefully review and disclose
any real or potential conflicts of interest they may have related to
cannabis legalization," the premier said.

"We must be proactive on this issue because the consequences are real
and go to the heart of our commitment to being the most transparent
and ethical government in Canada."

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he's not opposed to reviewing
whether provincial conflict-of-interest rules require updating. But
he's not clear on why the premier felt he needed to single out
potential conflicts of interest involving cannabis.

"It's my understanding of the rules that we are already required to
disclose any holdings we would have in a business involved in
cannabis. So an announcement/press release put out to direct cabinet
members to make a disclosure they probably should already be making
strikes me as odd," the Opposition leader said.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont was also puzzled by the premier's

"It's one of these curve balls from Mr. Pallister that it's not
entirely clear what he is trying to achieve," Lamont said.
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